The Cincinnati Bengals were prepared to give the 49ers a fourth-round draft pick for the right to select Taylor Mays a little more than a year after the 49ers settled for significantly less compensation.The Bengals eventually acquired Mays and had to send the 49ers only a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft.The 49ers sent out an email to all 31 other NFL teams early in training camp to announce that Mays was available in a trade. A couple weeks later, the Bengals and the 49ers hammered out an agreement that sent Mays to the Bengals.Mays is rounding into shape after missing a couple weeks with a knee injury. Coach Marvin Lewis declined to say whether Mays will be in uniform against the 49ers on Sunday.In 2010, the Bengals owned the No. 54 overall pick in the second round. They contacted the 49ers about trading the No. 49 overall selection. The teams would've swapped places in the second round, and the Bengals would've sent the 49ers their fourth-round pick for the right to select Mays."We're pleased," Lewis said of the trade that happened more than a year later. "We think it was a good thing for both teams. I think both teams are happy. They decided to sign more veteran players and we wanted to get a young player we could develop for our future here. So I think it was a plus for both clubs."Mays joins former 49ers defensive players Nate Clements and Manny Lawson with the Bengals. The fact the Bengals added Clements and Lawson was coincidental, Lewis said. But there was a clear reason the 49ers and Bengals worked out the deal that sent Mays to Cincinnati."In Taylor's case, I think Trent (Baalke) knew we had an interest in Taylor," Lewis said of the 49ers' general manager. "During the (2010) draft, we called them and asked if they wanted to trade their slot to us. And they ended up taking Taylor. We were going to do the same thing."Then-49ers coach Mike Singletary was Mays' biggest advocate in the draft room. But Jim Harbaughs new coaching staff did not believe Mays had the coverage skills to make a contribution. Now, the Bengals are eager to see how Mays can be utilized."He's got to get an opportunity," Lewis said. "Unfortunately for us, he sprained his knee in the last preseason game. So he has not been able to be full speed up until the end of last week. So he hasn't had enough practice time with us to understand."But we believe he has a good skill set, that he's a big man who can run. In the two preseason games he got an opportunity to play in here, he did a nice job of showing his range and coming up and being a physical player in the run support, and so forth, with good fits and leverage."
General manager John Lynch and the 49ers have created the desired intrigue about what the club will do with the No. 2 overall pick in this week’s NFL draft.
The team remains “open for business,” in the words of Lynch, to trade the second pick. If the 49ers are unable to find a trade partner, the team can do any number of different ways with that pick. The first round of the draft is scheduled for Thursday evening.
After edge-rusher Myles Garrett, widely projected to go to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick, there does not seem to be much separating the next dozen prospects on the board at a number of different positions.
Now, there is buzz the 49ers could go with a quarterback – likely, Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina – with the No. 2 pick. That possibility gained steam Monday morning with a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, citing “several sources,” that the 49ers are “strongly considering” selecting a quarterback with the second pick.
One league source last week told NBC Sports Bay Area some around the league believe the 49ers would draft Trubisky or Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
“If the 49ers are waiting on Kirk Cousins, just remember that Trubisky is a better prospect now than Cousins was coming out of the 2012 draft,” the source said.
Cousins, who is set to play his second consecutive year as Washington’s franchise player, was a fourth-round selection under then-coach Mike Shanahan, New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was his father’s offensive coordinator when Washington drafted Cousins.
Lynch has been open in his scouting and praise of this year’s draft class. He has attended workouts of top quarterback prospects: Trubisky, Deshaun Watson (Clemson), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) and Davis Webb (Cal).
"I think most of this quarterback class should be later down the line, whether it's first round or second round,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said recently. ESPN’s Mel Kipier and Todd McShay had Trubisky as the first quarterback selected by the Browns at No. 12 overall.
“I think these guys are somewhat getting a bad rap,” Lynch said at the NFL scouting combine. “You turn on the film, and there’s a lot to like.”
The 49ers head into this week’s draft with Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as the only two quarterbacks on the roster.
The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing any of the top three quarterbacks on the team’s roster last season: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. Each of those players remains unsigned.
Running back Glen Coffee, who walked away from the 49ers during training camp before his second NFL season, was reinstated Friday off the reserve-retired list.
As part of the same transaction wire released by the NFL office, the 49ers released Coffee, making him a free agent.
After seven seasons away from the game, Coffee is attempting a comeback, his agent told NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday.
“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.
“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”
Coffee, who turns 30 on May 1, was a third-round draft pick (No. 74 overall) of the 49ers in 2009. He was the sixth running back selected in that year's draft. Coffee appeared in 14 games as a rookie and carried 83 times for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 11 passes for 78 yards.
During training camp the next year as his teammates were exiting the locker room for the practice field in August 2010, Coffee cut the tape from his shoes and left the team's Santa Clara practice facility. He later informed then-coach Mike Singletary of his decision to stop playing football. Coffee said he believed God had a bigger plan for him.
Coffee was a specialist in the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers after enlisting in 2013. He is no longer active, Oubre said.
“He’s been training several months,” Oubre said. “The rigors of the Army Rangers, he was already in shape. He’s taking it to another level now. He’s been training for more than four months.
“He feels like he served and now the time is right. He’s in a good place. He understands, you can’t play football forever and you can’t do any one thing forever. He’s in a place right now that he wants to use his God-given ability as a football player.”
Coffee turned pro after his junior season at Alabama. In his final college season, Coffee rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Coffee has been training under Johnny Jackson at JDPI Sports Performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oubre said he will be in contact with all 32 NFL teams to see if there’s any interest in bringing in Coffee for workouts. He might also hold an open workout for any interested teams.